Code Galore!

There is no point in having a robot looking pretty, without it doing anything, so we’re going to need some code to make it do something! All the code I have written so far is currently in a github repository for anyone to use!


Laser Cutting Wonder!

For PiWars, I have decided to make my robot out of some plywood, a light yet sturdy material. I am no stranger to my school’s DT department (design and technology) so in order to create some parts for my chassis I asked my amazing Product Design teacher to use the laser cutter. What was awesome is that he said yes, considering there is a queue to cut, and I kind of just skipped the whole queue. In order to keep up with the Volkswagen camper van, I cut and etched some cute little bits of plywood. 1163-142444638599887 (3 in case I paint them really badly!). These are really cute, 10cm wide and 13cm tall! I have some eggplant coloured paint and GLITTER to put on them, along with some other planks to put on the sides!


I am number four!



Today, all thirty-two of the confirmed entrants for PiWars 2015 were announced. I am in fact, competitor number four. This is amazing news and I am so excited to get started.

Okay, so I intend to enter all of the challenges with my robot, The Piwagen. You may ask how I chose the name. My robot will use the motor controller board from Ryanteck along with their motors as well. The motors will use four AA batteries to supply 6V. The Pi will be powered by a 2600mAh  battery pack. The chassis will be made out of plywood, which will be laser cut to precision and etched to make it look like a Volkswagen camper van, hence the name. I intend to adapt the sensors to tailor the bot to each challenge. The controller will be a simple wireless, Bluetooth keyboard.

Well, those are the plans for now. I hope you join me for the rest of my adventures building up to December!


MozFest Day 1!

After a 6am start, I ended up at Ravensbourne College for day one of the annual MozFest. I had never attended before and therefore had no idea how much awesomeness would soon be upon me. I was originally helping Nic (@duck_star) to tape cables to the floor so no-one would trip over them, and soon went to changing monitor/cable setups on the Raspberry Pis. IMG_3501At 10:45, the first workshop started, which was titled ‘Astro Pi – Your code in Space’. This was led by the fantastic Dave Honess (@dave_spice). Dave did an awesome introduction to the Astro Pi project/competition as well as the stages the payloads have gone through to make it on to the ISS. This was super cool and really interesting to listen to the different tests a small device IMG_3504needs in order to be taken to space! After that, Carrie-Anne

Philbin (@MissPhilbin, @GeekGurlDiaries) from the Raspberry Pi Foundation took over and taught the 30 or so children how to create an interactive avatar using the accelerometer and LED matrix on the new SenseHAT. After the long (1hr45m) session was finished, I had an obligatory selfie with Carrie-Anne and the back-up Astro Pi flight unit (in case the flight ones suddenly blow up, or dots boards spill conductive paint on them!), I decided to go with Dave, Carrie-Anne and Helen (@Helen_Drury) from the foundation to IMG_3506get some food. Needless to say there weren’t many options for children and I didn’t really like my food, however reports from others have suggested they enjoyed it (it was probably me just being picky!) After lunch, myself, Carrie-Anne and Helen explored MozFest, as the Raspberry Pi workshops were on floor 2 of 9! I didn’t have time to fully explore everything (although there are 2 days to the festival), but there were some really awesome projects, such as a game that looked really like mario kart, however the controllers were Sony phones that were linked to a web page using a modified version of Firefox! There were loads of 3D printers at MozFest, and someone had printed a droid thing with an XboxIMG_3509 Kinect camera. There was also an open source sensor display with Arduino and custom made open source boards. Carrie-Anne was ready to quiz all the stall-holders on their amazing projects, and suggested open sourcing the board’s SOC (system on a chip). There was loads to explore, but I also found a BBC microbit controlled table football game. The microbit is a small board that will soon be given to every Year 7 child in the country. I have recently been very interested in them as they will soon be arriving at my school, so I can do some projects with them at my programming club. After quickly touring MozFest, we bought some really nice cake and biscuits and went back to the main Raspberry Pi room. Next up was a Scratch Sense HAT workshop with the Raspberry Pi Creative Technologists Connor and Milton (@connorbanona and @miltonio94 respectively). During their session I was put on DOTs boards, GPIO addons that are a dot to dot with conductive paint, that produce a flying plane in Minecraft. At that point the FireFox (Mozilla Mascot) arrived! He seemed to love the Astro Pi flight unit! Lastly, it was the legendary workshop everyone had been waiting for, run my myself, Joseph Thomas (@jthomascoop) and Zach Igielman (@zacharyigielman). This went fairly ok, besides some coding errors that had to be slightly altered. On my way out, I met the wonderful Alan O’Donohoe (@teknoteacher) who is the founder of Raspberry Jam, and is just so awesome! After the workshops, I got on a train back to sunny sunny Southend to enjoy the Saturday night fireworks!

I have had an awesome first day at MozFest and I am really looking forward to tomorrow. Thanks to everyone who has made the event possible, especially Andrew (@gbaman1) for organising all of the Raspberry Pi workshops (these have literally been like 3 months in the making).IMG_3520